There’s a thing that happens in any social movement where the people who are negatively impacted by something attempt to articulate the unquantifiable, and people with privilege pretend there’s no problem at all. That’s what privilege is: The state of being comfortable enough to not notice.
Well Hello there, America.
Welcome to the world of relative discomfort and relativist classism.
Glad Linda called it.
Here is the thing.
There are scales and degrees to everything.
What I mean by that is this:
Hector was born in the country but could never go to college.
Jorge was born in this country and went to college, but his parents have been deported
Herman was born here went to college and his parents helped him get a job.
Henry is also doing the same job but gets paid twice as much, because you know, Harvard.
The stratosphere that Linda is referring to is clear when you are in it. But at the same time you are in other layers that you have not shed. Is the person who made 175k last year saving 500 a year? Or did he just get screwed in the divorce? How do you exercise your social capital?
So calling your comfort is a marked zone?
I think this needs further scrutiny.
When my husband and I would drive past a ‘mcmansion’ I would say “13 families could live in that house” and my husband would say “they can have theirs as long as they don’t try to take mine away from me” and we would laugh b/c no one was trying to take our ‘cracker box’ away. It’s different now, and I’m not really sure when it changed, but I can feel the change in spite of the fact that we now make twice as much as we did when we first bought our cracker box. We both went to college, but studied in fields that were never great moneymakers – a friend said “if you do what you love you’ll never work a day in your life” so that was the plan, but everyone seems to be so much more desperate nowadays that all the joy I once had is slipping away …
Pwr 2 the PAINED peons!
The difference between claiming to fight for the oppressed
And actually fighting with them
Those who can afford to (and do) live in coastal areas are not elitist by that definition.
“Elitist” is a charge leveled by those sufficiently disinterested in politics per se, and far more interested in voting their values, e.g., “God, guns and gays.” This has them vote against their economic interests over and over again; that is no one’s fault but their own.
How great it is to see such a good article here by Linda Tirado. I read “Hand to Mouth” about a year ago, after Barbara Ehrenreich said it’s the book she wished she had written. I highly recommend it.
The difference is having your government declare you are insane. This supposedly only happened in the Soviet Union but in 1982 it happened to me gere in the United States. Another difference is you can’t afford a lawyer to take your case to court. Another difference is the manual that says paranoid schizophrenics will try to prove they are sane by going to court. Catch 22. Another bug difference is finding a lawyer who will work for free.
It would be nice if “eliteism” was so black and white but its not.
I grew up in the SF Bay Area where housing was always out of reach for those of us whose parents couldn’t afford to help. followed by living in many west coast locales where my salary bought me a two bedroom one bath fixer upper on a postage stamp lot while the same salary in the South or Midwest would have afforded me a new 3,000 square foot house on an acre uptown. Not to mention the never ending challenge of seeing how many miles I could squeeze out of an old Toyota Corolla.
Note that those Corollas were all assembled by UAW members in Fremont CA, unlike many of the GM, Ford and Chrysler products assembled in Mexico.
Because I have never voted GOP, vote for fewer and fewer Democrats with each passing decade, and had jobs with affordable medical insurance premiums that are not likely to be moved abroad anytime soon, statistically I am probably a “coastal elite”.
I’m not sure how many red state Trump voters would really want to trade places with me.
Thank you – one helluva movie, and relevant all over again!
And +1 back atcha for knowing where it came from
The american dream is fundamentally: equal access to opportunity. How do we get there when folks are allowed to pocket so much money that they can afford to see themselves as apart from the rest of the struggling masses. Define what jobs are living wage jobs and what that wage is, make it law, then tax income above this level progressively. The additional federal revenue keeps the books neutral, ie not in the red or making money, and the revenue that would have been in the black goes into buying materials and hiring folks at living wages to repair the commons: roads, bridges, dams, airports, etc. The goal really is that simple. This story reinforces, in my mind at least, the need to have our tax structure be the great ALMOST equalizer.
Upward mobility is not the problem. It downward mobility and the end of progress. Anyone that is upwardly mobile today might as well be in the NBA. The upwardly mobile have a duty to recognize that the era of progress, if there ever was one, is over.
Catapulted out of extreme poverty and hopelessness by her writing skills, not everyone is so fortunate.
The problem is that we are a country of one-person, one-vote, not one acre, one vote. The majority of the US’s population live in the “elitist” coastal cities. This happens at the state level too. In my state, the extremist right-wing rural and small town areas already wield disproportionate power, and receive more government services per-capita compared to the majority population which is concentrated in Philly, Lehigh Valley and Pittsburgh, thanks to gerrymandering.
Also, I’m tired or rural people going on how poor they are. I have seen no white rural or small-town area of my state and region (BTW I have been to at least one - and as many three, towns or cities with the names that you list) with anything like the poverty and hopelessness of the black neighborhoods of Kensington, Philadelphia or Homewood-Brushton, Pittsburgh, or large areas of Baltimore, Maryand. And yes, this includes that place everybody is talking about - McDowell County, WV.
Is Toyota unionized in California? The Georgetown, Kentucky Toyota plant - and all the supplier plants in the counties around it, are all non-union - Toyota and its suppliers worked hard at making it that way.
I very much understand what you are saying. I’m retired now, from a professional career…also not a big money-making one. I thought I would be happy, relax, travel, enjoy life…but more and more there is the stress that the little I have will be lost. And even worse, I see my kids–now grown and in professions of their own–struggle with a future that likely will have no safeguards for them.
We live in a real-time classist world. There is a class war going on and we are all just now realizing it.
Just to clarify, I really think we heed to keep geography and geographic and cultural chauvinism out of it. The elite enemies of the working class can be found everywhere - on the coasts and in the interior, and in big city, suburb, countryside or small town - and many of the elites do indeed talk in the local vernacular, drink beer, root for the “Stillers” and drive pickup trucks…
So who are the Koch brothers and where do they come from? I just wish Hollywood would make movies that reflect the working class or as Chris Hayes wrote about Debs and what happened in this country in the early 1900’s. Warren Buffett comes from where? Mitt Romney comes from where? George Bush jr. comes from where?These people aren’t part of the elite. WTFU!
There are elite in every state of the union—the elite are people who have the power to make change happen. Of course common people living in Calif ,Nebraska,Texas to Maine could take this power away–but people buy into this BS. Is Maine part of the coastal elite,I know there are elite in Georgia but I bet most vote republican-----and what about Florida?
The elite from Calif to Texas to Kansas and Georgia want to keep the focus on race,sex,religion and anything that divides the the common people. Just don’t talk about class or the rich in this country.SUPPORT THE COMMONS!
A great comment in this article is how people are locked out of the system. And this starts in grade school. I was raised in a politically active family(republican) and if I hadn’t had this influence I would have no idea how to even vote. I live in a town of 20,000 but only 1,500 will vote in local elections that include Mayor???The current system works to keep people divided and uninformed. DN just did a story on how the legislature in Arizona is prohibiting teaching of Latin history???
It should be required that a student in the jr or sr. level do some kind of out of class project having to do with the political system----and the student should be able to choose the subject----something to expose students in a hands on way that involves the political system.
Boy can I relate to your situation – 10 years ago Mike started having some serious health issues, and had to retire b/c he just wasn’t well enough to keep working ( he has diabetes, congestive heart failure and is in end stage kidney failure)*. He spent that first summer getting radiation for prostate cancer, and a few years later had to have a triple bypass. Thankfully, we have a VA hospital here so he has gotten all his care from them, otherwise I have no doubt but what we would have lost everything, and there is no way he could manage without me so I no longer work either. We aren’t doing too bad financially, but I know if I had to pay everything on my own I couldn’t, so I am putting every extra cent toward the mortgage in the hope that it will be paid off b4 Mike dies – it might be a ‘cracker box’ but it’s home and we love it.
*Mike’s health issues are the result of being in an engineering company in Vietnam – after the agent orange was sprayed they went in and cleared out all the dead brush. Our first son was born Oct.6, 1972 and died 2 days later of cancer. Our second son is severely handicapped (retardation) but he’s doing pretty well in the group home he’s in, and I honestly think he likes it better than living with us b/c he’s got friends that are like him.
In Germany, even lower and middle management may be unionized. It is only the executives who are not. My wife was a manager and a union shop steward. Yet Germany has the strongest economy in the EU and a trade surplus. Since unification workers have lost a lot because of the costs of lifting the east, but their lot is still a different world from the slog in the US.